I often write about my tastes in music. This morning, I was listening to my favorite Glenn Frey song (okay, the only Glenn Frey song I like since the Eagles broke up), “Smuggler’s Blues.”
It occurred to me that although it is a pretty good song, I really only loved it for one line, “it’s the politics of contraband,” referring to the effect the drug trade has on the country. It’s a great phrase.
There are other songs I love mainly for one or two lines. The opening to Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” is classic: “I knew by the way she parked her car sideways it wasn’t gonna last.” In two lines, he paints a clear picture of a lady filled with ego and a sense of entitlement. There is the chorus to Jack Johnson’s “Flake,” “it seems to me that maybe, it pretty much always means no.” So true, so true.
[ETA: How could I forget one of my favorite lines ever? From Bruno Mars’ “Grenade”: “Tell the Devil I said hey when you get back to where you’re from.”]
“Kyrie” by Mr. Mister is another case of the chorus meaning more to me than the rest of the song: “Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel, kyrie eleison through the darkness of the night, kyrie eleison where I’m going will you follow? Kyrie eleison, down the highway to the light.” That this song — with its explicitly religious language (“kyrie eleison” means “Lord have mercy” and is part of the Roman Catholic liturgy) — ended up at #1 on the Billboard charts never ceases to surprise me. I am simply assuming that the majority of people who bought it were either Roman Catholic, or thought the phrase sounded cool without knowing its meaning. Then again, I’m a cynic.
[I often listen to “Kyrie” before I go into work. It’s a prayer for strength. I do not know if there is a God, but if there is I hope she is listening. (I do think the theology of the song is a little backwards, though: it should be “where you’re going I will follow,” instead of the other way around.) Another song I listen to these days before going into work is Ronnie Dunn’s “Cost of Livin’.” It kind of reminds me of why I do not just quit this job, of why what I do matters. I have talked to people like the guy in this song — hardworking men and women who “gave [their] last job everything, before it headed south,” and who have no insurance as a consequence.]
One of my other favorite lines comes from a song I love all around: Eddie from Ohio’s “Number Six Driver.” “The good news out here on the highway is that everything in life is a suggestion, but the bad news out here on the highway is that every question just begs another question.” I love the idea so much I am willing to forego my usual hysterical reaction to the misuse of the phrase “begs the question.”
Then there is the opening to “Lonely Inanimate” by the Canadian group Captain Tractor, who deserve to be better known in the States than they are: “The stuff in the sink said its first words to me after I scraped it off my plate from my supper; it asked me if I ever thought of bathing, I answered quite honestly ‘no’.”
And yes, I am following The Voice. I don’t like anyone just yet (and I am still miffed that Michelle Chamuel came in second last year) but it’s early. It gives me a chance to hear new music: I listen to the contestants, then hunt down the originals. Last year, it was “Titanium,” “Raise Your Glass,” and “The A Team” (which, oddly enough, I liked better done by Caroline Glaser during the knockout rounds than by Ed Sheeran), not to mention Usher’s “Twisted”; this year thus far it is “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic and The Band Perry’s fabulous “Done.”
That said, it would be cool if the nerdy former Apple Store employee won, simply because, after all, geeks are so sexy.